I am definitely a night owl, no question about it. I have tried my best for many years to "fit into the land of morning people" but never with any luck. I can adapt for a day or two or perhaps a week, but I will never be as alert or as productive as I am in the evening.
There are four of us at my school who are all definite night owls. We dream of a school that would start at 9:30 or 10am. We would even be happy with a 9am start. Every day, we drag our bodies into work, always arriving last, right before the bell rings. We stumble down to our classrooms, trying our best to put on a cheery smile when one of our morning friends says hello in that "bright and cheery morning voice", while inside that cheeriness feels similar to fingernails scratching a blackboard. We are exhausted all week, never catching up on the sleep we need. It doesn't matter if we go to bed at 8 or 11 pm, we are still in a fog until at least 9 am the following morning. During school vacations, we start staying up later and later. We do our most productive work late at night. We could easily call each other at 1 am during our breaks and we would all still be wide awake. When school starts again, it is like dealing with jet lag, trying to adjust back to that early morning wake up call. The longer the vacation, the more difficult it is to adjust, but we never really fully adjust.
There is a lot of guilt put on night owls. We are told that we are are lazy and unfocused. If we just went to bed earlier we would be cheery morning people who would arrive early and get so much more accomplished. Believe me, if it was that easy, why would we torture ourselves year after year.
I was thrilled when I stumbled on the article: Why some of us are early risers a few years ago. Finding that article was like finding gold. Finally I had the evidence I needed to tell those cheery morning people who have been up since 4 or 5am that going to bed earlier will not make us cheery morning people.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Whatever the answer, scientists believe they may now know why some of us are early risers while others prefer to burn the midnight oil. The answer appears to lie in our genes. Researchers at the University of Surrey say they have found a link between people's preference for mornings or evenings and a gene called Period 3. This gene is one of those involved in regulating the body's internal clock. It comes in two forms - a shorter and longer one."
Steve Sailer's iSteve Blog cites an interesting study conducted by the Spanish researcher, Juan Francisco Díaz-Morales. The study discusses how being a morning person or a night owl doesn’t just determine when you start or end your workday. It talks about how your internal clock may help define your psychology as well. Here is an excerpt of the excerpt:
"results offer new evidence that morning and evening types think differently. Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions. Social behavior diverges as well: Morning people are more likely to be self-controlled and exhibit “upstanding” conduct; they respect authority, are more formal, and take greater pains to make a good impression. (Earlier research also suggests that they are less likely to hold radical political opinions.) Evening people, by contrast, are “independent” and “nonconforming,” and more reluctant to listen to authority"
In case you are not sure if you tend more toward morning or night here is a quick Morning or night person quiz. Even though I know I am a definite night owl, I took the quiz just for fun. My answers are under each question in blue.
1. When the alarm goes off, you:
a) Roll over, moan and then hit the snooze button.
b) Walk over to shut if off. You’ve been in the kitchen for 15 minutes already making breakfast and reading the morning paper.
a. I am the snooze alarm queen. I have 2 alarms set and hit the snooze at least 5 times each morning before finally dragging myself out of bed.
2. Your morning ritual consists of:
a) Dress, eat some toast and get out the door in 15 minutes.
b) A morning workout, a breakfast of freshly squeezed juice, fresh fruit and crepes and watering the plants.
Definitely not b. so I would have to say a. with a slight modification - I have a bowl of cereal and a quick espresso with about 15-30 minutes total time to get ready for work by the time I finally wake up. I am always running late in the morning.
3. You are asked to attend 8:00 am meeting at work or school tomorrow. You:
a) Wonder if the alarm can be set that early and purchase lots of coffee.
b) Ask if you should come 30 minutes beforehand to prepare.
a. If I must make a morning meeting, 8:30 is the earliest meeting time for me, and even then, I am in a fog for at least another hour. I try to set all my meetings after school. Never in my life have I volunteered to come early in the morning. I do however often volunteer to stay late.
4. One of your favorite films starts at 11:00 pm on a work or school night, you:
a) Watch the movie and wonder how late can you show up tomorrow without anyone noticing.
b) Set the video recorder before going to bed and look forward to watching it tomorrow.
a. I start to watch the movie, even though I know that I don't have the choice of showing up late the following morning. I do however also set the timer to record the movie, trying to get to sleep at least half way through the movie, knowing that I should not be staying up until the movie ends.
5. You call a friend at 9 pm and they are not home. You:
a) Leave a message to call you anytime tonight, you’ll be up.
b) Don’t leave a message—what if they call back at 9:30!!!
a. I will always be more alert late at night than before 9 in the morning.
Results of the quiz:
If you answered mostly A, you are a night person.
If you answered mostly B, you are a morning person
So which are you...early bird OR night owl?